Shakshuka: The Ottoman Empire Meets North Africa By Nourishing Africa

Image Credit: Once Upon a Chef


This popular Tunisian dish is made up of eggs cooked in a tomato sauce with peppers, onions, herbs, and cheese (most common feta), and is usually served in the iron pan it was cooked in, along with some bread, which is meant for dipping in the sauce and the soft cooked-egg. The word shakshuka comes from Arabic, meaning, “a haphazard mixture” or “all mixed up.”

Common throughout the Middle East, its modern form most likely originated in Libya and Tunisia. Others claim it originated in Yemen, where a similar dish is eaten with the famous Arabic schug (zhug) hot pepper sauce. However, its roots may go back even further. According to some food historians, it was born in the Ottoman Empire and spread out, eventually reaching as far as Spain.



Today this dish is very popular around the world especially across the Middle East and Northern Africa. It is also very popular in Israel where it is a  staple food to have at breakfast or brunch. In present-day Turkey, the breakfast dish called ‘menemen’ is almost identical to what the rest of the world calls shakshuka.

Shakshuka is high in protein as well as Vitamins, A, B-6, C, D, and E, selenium, and iron. It is a high protein, low carb breakfast.  Some health benefits of eggs are that it helps to maintain a healthy heart as well as bone health and aids weight loss.